Local News

Tuesday, Dec 04 2012 06:30 PM

County supervisors fine medical marijuana dispensary

BY ANTONIE BOESSENKOOL Californian staff writer aboessenkool@bakersfield.com

Kern County supervisors on Tuesday hit another medical marijuana dispensary with a $50,000 fine for violating Measure G, the rule restricting where dispensaries and medical marijuana cooperatives can operate.

Voters approved Measure G in June, preventing dispensaries and cooperatives from operating within a mile of schools, public parks, churches, child day care centers or other collectives. Collective operators have argued that the restriction is effectively a ban on selling marijuana for medical use in the county.

The supervisors took action against a few dispensaries and collectives at their Nov. 6 meeting, presenting several of them with $50,000 fines plus penalties of $1,000 a day for each day they didn't comply with Measure G.

Kern County Kind Collective, also called Kern County Pharmacy Collective Inc., was separated from those cases. The owner of the property where the business operates, Bakersfield Mountain View Bravo LLC, asked for more time to file legal action to evict Kern County Kind Collective.

This case also isn't covered by a restraining order a Kern County judge signed later in November that stopped the county from enforcing Measure G against the dispensaries they took action against on Nov. 6. The restraining order blocked the county from imposing penalties for one month.

But because it wasn't part of a lawsuit brought by a group of collectives against the county and therefore covered by the restraining order, Kern County Kind Collective's $50,000 fines were effective Tuesday and the $1,000 a day fine was to start Wednesday.

The collective, which sits at 3900 Niles St., is the last of those the county knows about that's out of compliance with Measure G and for which the county needed to hold public hearings, if the dispensaries request that step, Kern County Deputy County Counsel Devin Brown said after the meeting.

Bakersfield Mountain View Bravo and Kern County Kind Collective are both responsible for the fines, said Kern County Engineering, Survey and Permit Services Director Chuck Lackey after the meeting.

"The property owner is put in a very difficult position here," Kevin Thelan, a lawyer representing the property owner, told supervisors.

But supervisors decided that if Bakersfield Mountain View Bravo can evict its tenant in 60 days, it won't be responsible for paying the fines. Thelan said the property owners have filed suit against the cooperative and are waiting for a court date to be set.

Also, the supervisors were due to approve a $898,250 contract with AngelDogs Foundation for the organization to provide spay and neuter surgeries on animals adopted out of the county-run animal control shelter. Bakersfield and Kern County have been meeting for several months to work out how to share costs for animal control services and for the shelter, which sits on city land.

But city administrators said last week they hadn't heard of this contract before it was put on the supervisors' Tuesday agenda. The county's new animal control director, Jen Woodard, requested it be pulled from the agenda, so the supervisors didn't consider it Tuesday.

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